You’re ready for a website. People frequently say to you “what’s your website address?” and you’re starting to be embarassed that you don’t have one. You know you want to have a web presence, for your business, your organisation, or even that great idea you want to get out there.
Where do you start? What content do you really need for that first website?
There are some standard things that most useful websites have in common. You’ll probably want to start with at least these web pages:
This is the main page which summarises what your web site is about. It needs to be clear to new visitors who have just stumbled upon your site, yet also useful to visitors who are coming back to see anything new on your site.
I’ve used the term “Services” but this could be “Products”, “Courses”, “Offerings”, indeed it could come under a number of different titles and could easily be several pages, not just one. This page or group of pages is essentially more detail about what you do or what the site if offering.
In order to achieve credibility, it is important to clearly state on the website who you are, including some information on background and credentials.
Absolutely crucial is some means by which interested people can contact you. This can be a contact form or email address (be careful not to place an email address directly on a web page as this opens you up to endless spam! A contact form is one way of getting around this). A phone number is also very useful, and a physical address may be essential for a small business looking to increase local customers.
These days linking to other related websites and having them link back to you are essential in order to appear in the search results of the major search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, etc). You can have a separate links page or links to other sites can appear as a sidebar on various pages of your site, but it is worth considering this from the beginning.
Other items which are worth considering are:-
- News or blog
- Recommendations or testimonials
- Photo gallery
- Samples or examples
- Database of members or interested people
- Online store
More on those later….
In the meantime, rather than putting it off again, it’s really very easy to get started on that first website. Just gather up anything you think is important to the look of the website, such as:-
- company colours or your own colour/look preferences
- brochures, leaflets other written material you have
Then, if you are technically inclined, you can make a start yourself. If not, find a friendly neighbourhood website developer and have a chat!
A website can always be changed or added to, much more easily than a brochure from a print run. So get started and see where it grows to!